Properties & Leasing

Up next at Harrisburg East – Mission BBQ

Posted by: Trevor Ankeny Trevor Ankeny
on May 22, 2017

Not long ago Harrisburg East Shopping Center was a struggling asset along an incredibly busy corridor east of Harrisburg, in South Central Pennsylvania. The shopping center, while strategically positioned in a retail hub of Harrisburg, needed a little boost. So, a redevelopment opportunity was conceived and the property was soon gearing up to attract new retailers.

First, Giant Food relocated from a nearby location to take over the space previously leased by Gander Mountain, and joined two existing tenants, Value City Furniture and Old Country Buffet. It hasn’t even been a full year, and Giant is already looking to expand its stock area to take an additional 2,200 square feet.

Then came the newest arrival at Harrisburg East — Mission BBQ!

With so many barbeque restaurants to choose from, you may wonder what makes Mission BBQ stand out. The restaurant not only makes great cuisine, but they do it while celebrating first responders, military members, and veterans. We wanted to find out how this connection between Mission BBQ and such local and national heroes came to be.

Mission BBQ at Harrisburg East Shopping Center.

We spoke with Ally Hall, Community Ambassador for the Harrisburg restaurant, to learn more about Mission BBQ and their charitable efforts.

What does your role as Community Ambassador entail?

Ally Hall: As the Community Ambassador, I’m the connection between the restaurant and our local and national heroes (police, fire, EMT, military, and our veterans). I do weekly food drops to thank them for their service to our community and our country. I partner with them on community events such as National Night Out and other fundraisers. I assemble and donate raffle baskets to raise money for charities that serve our local and national heroes. I collect donated decor items such as patches, pictures, and memorabilia to hang on our walls. I plan the soft opening charity nights and VIP parties. Lastly, I work in the restaurant in hopes of making even more meaningful connections with our community members.

How does Mission BBQ select the benefiting charities?

Hall: For every store opening, there are a total of three charity nights: for fire, police, and military. It’s up to each store to find a cause that will benefit the community in some way. We donate all the money raised towards the charity, and take cash donations as well.

Paxtonia Fire Company is the closest fire station to our restaurant. I worked with their Chief to decide what the money should go towards. Their greatest need was for updated equipment, so that is what Mission BBQ raised money for on April 12.

Lower Paxton Township Police Department is our local police force. I worked with their Community Policing Officer to select a charity important to them, the Youth Forensics Program. This program is free for high school students who wish to learn more about working in the forensics field. It provides them with hands-on interaction from professionals in the field.

Fort Indiantown Gap has a new USO center on base, so I worked with a representative from the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey to help raise money for the other USO centers in the area.

Charity nights at Mission BBQ gives back to the local community.

What makes the police and fire nights special?

Hall: The only difference with the police and fire charity nights is that it is the responsibility of the respective fire company or police department to invite people. Unless someone sees the invite flyer, they cannot come into the building, so it’s more of a private party. USO Night is open to anyone who walks in the door even if they didn’t know about it in advance.

Each night, fire, police, or military vehicles show up to create a buzz about the opening and entertain their guests. I was privileged enough to be invited to and attend the police fundraising night. Not only was there a large turnout, the Lower Paxton Township Police Department brought their two K-9 units out for the event. They capped off the evening with a K-9 handling and tactics demonstration.

This fundraiser secured over $3,000 in donations. The Fire Charity Night exceeded $2,400 in donations and the Military Charity Night raised $3,630, for a total of over $9,000 for the local charities.

Lower Paxton Township Police Department show off a member of its K-9 unit.

Up next at Harrisburg East look for Big Bob’s Flooring, which opens early this summer. Additionally, CVS Pharmacy will open a free-standing store next year. That leaves just two small in-line retail spaces to be filled as this location moves toward a successful re-development.

Welcome to Kimco’s Harrisburg East, Mission BBQ!


This has been an installment of StoreFront, an interview series with leaders of successful retail businesses. For more interviews, visit the StoreFront page. To learn how you can be featured, email us. We’d love to hear from you.

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